In September  the state announced an extension of the Pandemic Disaster Declaration by 5 months until February 20121. Even as we in Connecticut enter a new phase 3 of our re-opening there is are resurgences of the virus occurring locally and elsewhere that suggests re-opening process will last longer and take many turns before things stabilize. No matter the specifics of how this may show up in our day to day lives, these occurrences are another indicator that our lifestyles will remain limited as slow process of re-opening our communities continues.

For nearly everyone with whom I speak this adjustment to these changing circumstances is a source of great ongoing stress that is piled on normal challenges life brings.

Now that so much activity has been curtailed due to the shutdown our lives are increasingly sedentary. Here in the northeast this is exacerbated as the Fall and Winter season unfolds. This gradual “motion starvation” can have negative and reciprocal effects on mind and body in negative ways that may accumulate over time.

For those at risk due to age or health issues this lack of motion is even more of a concern. The decrease of movement opportunities normally built into our lives via day to day activity contributes to a cycle where increased physical distress and limitation contributes to pent up emotional and mental stress and vice versa.

What we already know and accept about stresses being a significant contributor to so many medical conditions and health concerns; it is clear all this may create lasting negative effects on health and well-being. When stress mounts and the encroaching symptoms of so much time spent sitting at computers and overall movement limitations unfold, we can lose our connection to life’s possibilities. This in turn access  joy within that Sages and Yoga teach us is the root of and key to the overall enjoyment of our lives.

Because we are living this day to day often it’s impact is immediately recognizable and just how to address this process is not readily  So the question becomes not just what to do to address this challenge but how to do it to minimize risk and maximize benefits in doing so.

Informal and familiar solutions such as instituting or expanding on daily walks, reaching out to others via phone calls to friends or loved ones,  virtual times spent with family and friends when in-person connection is not possible are very simple and effective ways to begin to shed the heaviness of the lifestyle limitations of many of us are experiencing.

Because these are unique times that present unique problems, beginning or continuing  a more formal and structured Yoga, meditation or self-care practice relevant to our specific needs has never been more important. At the same time, because this work is ubiquitous and varied due to online formats, in many ways it has never never been easier. Workshops, seminars and and learning presentations offered online can offer access to exciting teachings and immersion experiences that can be deeply transformative.

When in-person options aren’t feasible or are unsafe these online classes are becoming more the norm. Still with anything that is new difficulties can present themselves. Reaching out to teachers others who offer these options is recommended to help you overcome any of these obstacles to participating in or enjoying the experience.

So paying attention to just how these times are impacting the mind and body may be key to surviving and thriving in these challenging times. At the same time overcoming these challenges can be the call to redouble our efforts to transform our lives and ourselves.Being persistent and creative in your search for help in accessing what you need  canall the difference.